The Automotive Art of Mark Havens


These photographic prints of vintage car model decal sheets are an amazing collision of my interests in car culture and typography. I’ve long been a fan of these old decals and have spent way too many hours in Photoshop trying to reproduce the vintage printing techniques that make these artifacts so soulful. I’d be on-board with Mark’s project in any capacity, but when I see the scale of the reproductions, I’m simply smitten with them.

I love the colors and the type and the cartoony appeal of these decals at their original size; but the prints are startlingly detailed and textured when reproduced at 4×5 feet. Each little crackle and discoloration becomes so painterly and weathered and beautiful. I’m sure that even the artists that Revell and AMT employed when these decals were designed would be startled by the depth and vibrance of them at this scale.

There’s something about playing with scale that makes us notice things. When we see something familiar at a radically altered size, it makes us notice it again; and we start to look past the idea we have of it and see more closely the details and the construction. I think 3 or 4 of these prints running the length of a garage wall would be an absolutely fantastic display.

The series, appropriately titled Displacement, is being exhibited through the end of July at the JAGR Projects gallery in the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. More images at Mark’s site.

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